Monday, February 18, 2008

Oriental Rugs with Punch

As I approach the finish line on my little Oriental, I have found, much to my surprise, that I am already thinking about my next one. With that in mind, I did a search on the Internet last week for "Oriental Rug Patterns" and found this website
It's a punch needle site with a very large inventory of authentic Oriental rug designs which have been lovingly reproduced with historic authenticity. The patterns are available in kits, or on their own. There is a great variety of styles - something for every taste. There are traditional prayer rugs and some contemporary pieces as well. Many are quite large, which is what I am looking for in my next rug.
They use a backing that allows rug makers to punch without a frame, so their rugs are very portable. The kits include the wool yarn required to complete the designs, and although they offer the palettes shown in the patterns, you can create your own combination.
There is a very comprehensive "how to" section on the site, which is wisely protected from being copied by every person who visits. Everything from learning to hook with a punch needle to creating the crocheted edge and fringe for your rug.
I like quite a few of the patterns on the site, so I decided to contact them and find out if you could hook them in the traditional style. Julie, who responded to my email, said that she had only done punch needle hooking, so she wasn't sure. But, by joining the site, I was entitled to a sample of the backing, which I would be able to try to hook with wool strips.
It arrived within 2 days of my signing up, along with a handwritten note from Julie and a catalogue of the rugs I had seen on the website. She had punched the small area you can see in the top of the picture, leaving the bottom row untrimmed so I could see what the yarn loops looked like before shearing.
The backing easily permitted a 4 cut, so I tried a 5 and you can see that both worked well. The backing feels like a heavy rug warp to me, but has a really nice heft to it and you can see why a punch needle hooker wouldn't need a frame. I sent a note back to Julie to let her know how I made out, and she told me that she had quite a few people ask, so this was good information for her to be able to pass on.
Several aspects of the punch needle hooking appeal to me. I like the "no frame" part. I also like the fact that the patterns come hemmed so that you can hook right out to the edge and then just put your masterpiece on the floor when you are done. I guess my next decisions are which pattern to choose and whether to use wool strips on a frame, wool strips not on a frame or yarn as per the punch needle kits.
Once again, the Internet has provided me with a delightful surprise. I feel like Forrest Gump with his "life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get". This search was a delicious suprise. A new site for my favourites. A bevvy of patterns. Another nudge towards punch needle hooking (more inspiration to try the hook I bought nearly two years ago) and a new e-pal in Julie.
Go visit her site if you have time. You won't be disappointed.

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